As the fighting intensifies in the Kurdish regions of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has launched more attacks on the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
An IRGC statement said that early Monday morning an IRGC ground force unit launched missiles and drones into northern Iraq. The statement said that the attack was against “the headquarters and centers of conspiracy, establishment, training and organization of anti-Iranian separatist groups.”
The IRGC statement said that they were able to inflict “heavy strikes and attacks against the terrorists.” Iran has in recent months regularly launched attacks against Kurdish groups in Iraq. Some of the attacks have been related to current protests; others have been related to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s close relationship with Israel, which Iran has accused of having bases in the area.
The protests and crackdown in the Kurdish city of Mahabad in northwest Iran have intensified. According to an IRGC statement, they sent reinforcements into the northwest city, and reinforcements have been sent to confront separatist groups who are creating insecurity in the region. The statement issues a warning to “armed criminals and mercenary terrorists supported by the global arrogance (the West).”
Protests, ongoing for two months across the country, began when Mahsa Amini was arrested by the country’s morality police for violating hijab laws. She died later in police custody. Amini is originally from a Kurdish area of Iran, which is partly why the protests have continued to intensify in that region. The Kurdish areas of Iran, like neighboring countries as well, are regions that have experienced armed struggle against the central authority.
Iran has said now they are using drone video surveillance to track protests in the country. The Intelligence Ministry says that a video shows clearly the actions “of armed terrorists in Mahabad.” The video is grainy and low quality and shows very little of what the article and the Intelligence Ministry claim.
There have been nearly 400 deaths in the protests in the last two months. In response to the high number of deaths, Iran has also held large funerals for security officers who have died in the protests and whom Iran refers to as “security martyrs." A large funeral in Esfahan was recently held for security officers, one belonging to the IRGC and two belonging to the Basij Organization, which operates under the IRGC. The statement said that they were killed in a terrorist act but did not offer details.